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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

EXODUS AND EASTER

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Palm Sunday commemorates our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem,  which was   in  itself   a  fulfillment of prophecy,  not only going back  to the garden scene, but, more  specifically as given  to the Patriarchs, particularly Judah.

Judah was  the  one  of whom the  promise was made   that  the  sceptre “shall not depart  from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his  feet, until Shiloh come; and  unto him  shall  the  gathering of the  people be”  (Genesis 49:10).

With that verse most people stop. They realise that Shiloh is the same word as Shalom, which is the same word as Salem  – and  this should  tell us that this was not fulfilled by our Lord, for Shiloh means PEACE. He made  it quite  clear  that  He had  not come to bring peace, but a sword.

But when  our Lord comes finally to complete the work of ushering  in His Kingdom, He becomes again King of Salem  or Peace  or Shiloh  the  One  and  the only One Who could usher in that reign of peace. But only after all enemies have been destroyed that Peace can rightly reign. The Scripture continues saying “… binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine.” That’s exactly what happened when our Lord said  to His disciples that He must  prepare Himself for His entry into Jerusalem. He told them  to go to a certain place and  that there  would  be a man with an ass and a colt. His instructions? To bring them to the Master, and  if any  questions were  asked,  to simply say that the Master has need  of them.

So it was that Our Lord made provision and  rode into Jerusalem “meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

It was  a  triumphant entry! That  in  itself  was prophetic because the Scriptures make  it clear  that redemption is something affecting the whole of creation;  not just Jerusalem, not just the city, not just people,  but the whole  creation groans  – animal  life, plant life and humanity.

Our Bible says “the firstling  of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb”(Exodus 34:20). Here we have this wonderful illustration of the firstling of the ass; the ass’ colt was symbolic  of the redemption, of the King who was to ride the ass into Jerusalem. Of course the prophecy is the 118th Psalm, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And that is exactly what  the multitudes shouted as he rode into the city, “Blessed is he  that cometh in  the  name of  the Lord.”  In this a rebuke was  made to the people of that city who would not have Him. But, “you will not see me  until you  say  Blessed is he…”

They, and  all will have  to make  that statement if they want  to take  part in the inheritance which  will be to all mankind.

All these  things  represented a fulfillment  of the prophecy concerning the  Redeemer, made specifically in the  promise to Judah,  later  to David, concerning the throne  to be established forever, with our Lord ‘s genealogy given in Matthew and  Luke to show  that both Joseph, His protector, and  Mary, His mother, are descended from  David. Our Lord is definitely the root and offspring of David, a rod out of the stem  of Jesse, great  David’s  greater son;  all of these inheritances being present as  symbolic associations as  He made His triumphal entry  into Jerusalem, being  related to types  and  anti-types of ancient Israel which  He fulfilled.

Such types go back to when ancient Israel experienced their  exodus from  bondage. Before they  left their  homes to go forth  into  the  crossing of the  Red Sea,  etc., they  performed the  killing of the lamb. The lamb was  killed  on the afternoon of the  14th day of the  month of Nisan , the  beginning of the  feast  of unleavened bread being  preceded by the killing of the Paschal lamb.  In the afternoon of  both  the  14th  and  15th  of  Nisan , they  had  to carry out  a  rigid  and   thorough search  of  their dwellings to  make sure there was no  leaven anywhere. They  had  to prepare themselves to receive this feast, that  of unleavened bread .

Now, this illustrates that Our Lord fulfilled the feast of unleavened bread, but before  that began  He was the fulfillment of  the  Paschal Lamb  which was embodied within the Passover.

The Hebrew day started at six o’clock in the evening and  they  carried on  a  twenty-four hour period  until six o’clock the  next  evening.  Now we come onto something very interesting,  because it was on the 14th Nisan when  the exodus started, and that exodus was  started by the  killing of the lamb.  The people had to carry  through  the whole  observance, feeding on this lamb, and preparing themselves with sustenance for that which  was to follow.

It was  the  symbol   –  the  Lamb  slain   from  the beginning,   entering   into  history  at  the  time  of the exodus.

Now this is wonderful. On the 10th of Nisan, the scriptures say, should  be the selecting  of the lambs. It took place on the 10th of Nisan, so our Lord, although He was the one  to ride into Jerusalem on the ass, as King, “blessed  is he that  cometh in the name  of the Lord” He was also the fulfilment of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  John  had  heralded the news some two and one half years prior to this, probably in August when the baptism of Jesus Christ would have taken place. Our Lord became the Lamb slain from the foundation  of the  world  on  10th Nisan, but  He also became  the King in His revelation of that day on Palm Sunday. So the 10th Nisan was therefore  fulfilled in our Lord becoming  the lamb and the King, demonstrating that His Kingship was one which was yet to be realized. To demonstrate, He had told the Greeks that a grain of wheat falls into the ground  and dies, illustrating by natural explanation the spiritual  Kingdom that would follow death and resurrection. His Kingdom would be a resurrection of life and the resurrection of the people who were to be redeemed by that great event.

The Paschal  Lamb  had  to be a lamb  of the  first year, a lamb  without blemish. From the 10th when the lamb is selected to the 14th when  it is killed there are the four days in between, in order for the lamb to be proved  to be, what  it was  thought  to be, a lamb without blemish.

The story now moves to midday on 14th Nisan, the equivalent of our Thursday. The lamb had to be selected four days earlier, on the 10th, for these  events  had to run parallel with the Exodus story. He became the Paschal Lamb. The people  then had to make sure the place was completely  cleansed of leaven,  and  made ready for what was to be the feast of unleavened  bread, which later became  known as the Passover supper.

Our story  now  moves  to six o’clock on the  14th which  at once becomes the first hour of 15th Nisan. The drama began  on the 14th in harmony with  the Exodus story,  and  moves  forward ,  thus  everything associated with our Lord ‘s great  passion took place on the 15th Nisan. (Since  the  drama began  on  the 14th you may date  your three  days from the 14th.)

Leaven  by its nature  (to  cause bread  to rise)  is referred to as a corrupting influence. It was necessary for the feast to be one of unleavened bread,  and so it was  that  the  people held   the  great   feast   of the Passover without  this symbol of evil.

Now, if you want to talk about  the parables of the leaven  and apply them  to the church, you’re  quite entitled  to do so, because the church  isn’t so pure as Our Lord Himself, and it does have things good and bad within it, as the leaven in the three measures of meal.

We rather miss quite a lot of the communion service as we concentrate only upon applying the symbolism of the vine, or of the vine being equivalent to the·blood of our Lord. That’s quite true, absolutely  true. But He was also the bread symbol. As the Old Testament states, “He was bruised for our iniquities.” We read in the Old Testament that “the seed  corn is bruised.”  And in the same way that the seed corn (grain) is bruised to make bread, the symbolism being that our Lord was both the bread  and  the wine  in the sacraments of the Lord ‘s supper.  (He did say “feed on me”. Also, you have the symbol of the manna in the wilderness, which sustained the people  then; likewise, we have now the symbol of “Give us this day our daily bread” if we want  the indwelling of the Christ within us as part of our prayer.)

Now,  back  to our  story.  They  had  finished   the Lord’s  supper, and  then  they went  out.  It was  said that they first sang a hymn. It is most interesting that when we come into John’s gospel, in these wonderful verses which many of us have committed to memory, it is stated that these were  words spoken by our Lord to His disciples as they made  their way to the Garden. Think of it! It was said that John 14 and onwards was part of His discourse with the disciples.

Here now we have the mention that Judas came, and  that  the temple soldiers arrested our  Lord. We have before us something that may have escaped our attention. It is said that he prayed. He went apart from them and He prayed. And He went  through  this great agony of prayer. It is said that He sweated, as it were, great drops of blood. There was the agony. There was the beginning of the three days. There was  the time, which even more than the cross itself, the point where the great redemptive act could still have failed. Here in the Garden  He said “Father, if it be thy  will let this cup  pass   from me,  but  not  my  will but  thine be  done.” And there  is this great  agony  if  He had wanted to say, “It is too much  for me;  I cannot do it”- but He didn’t. And He prayed and went  through the agony of suffering which the  drops of blood symbolized.  Here it was that He said, “I have finished the  work  Thou gavest me  to  do.”

So the shedding of blood,  in a sense, began  in the Garden. That’s  worth  thinking about, very much  so. However, you are in the 15th Nisan, so we see  before us as unleavened bread , the last supper, the elements of bread  and wine, the walk and the discourse on the way to the Garden, the great agony of His separating from  the others and  having  this time  of prayer,  the betrayal and the arrest, and then being taken  before Pilate, going to Herod, then back to Pilate. And the release of Barabbas is significant. All of this and finally Golgotha,  all of it on this 15th Nisan.

So, when  you consider 15th  Nisan you find the first hour ended about 9 p.m. on that date; the second hour  would  have  ended at midnight; the third,  and the time of the cockcrow, would  have been  at three; the  fourth  or  morning  watch would   have  been  at sunrise. Then  the hours  – the third hour  from six to nine; the sixth hour from nine to noon; the ninth hour on  till three  p.m.,  and  by inference, the  12th hour would  have been  from three  to six. There you come to the end of 15th Nisan.

What was important to the Jews was that Jesus be crucified and put death,  but they also knew that under Jewish  law  it was  unlawful  for a crucified  body  to remain on  a  cross during their sabbath . Jesus therefore would   have  to  be  taken  from  the  cross before  that day ended at 6 p.m. and  a new day, the sabbath, should begin. There is tremendous significance this 24 hour period.

At this point we see  that one of the Sanhedrin has stepped forward  claim  the  body of Jesus. This was Joseph of Arimathea, known to us as the great uncle of Jesus,  the uncle  of Mary, being the brother of her father. This kinship  was  obviously  known  by Pilate and the other  leaders, since  there  was no objection to Joseph ‘s request, and  since  only a relative  could have been  given such  permission. The burial could then  take  place, the  internment in Joseph’s own tomb,  before 6 o’clock, or before  the 12th hour.

Now we  come to something upon  which  there are  several  viewpoints. It concerns the  expression ‘the  heart  of the  earth’. Our Lord said  that ”Jonas was three days and three nights  in the belly of the whale, shall the son of man  be in the heart of the earth.”  To speak of the  ‘heart’ of the earth  isn’t  to indicate  a spot  4,000 miles  down, or whatever is to the center of earth,  the radius  of the planet;  it does not mean  the geographical center, but the heart  of the earth as far as the  stronghold power and dominion  of Satan. Our Lord went,  as it were,  to that point. He began  this journey to the heart of the earth when He went into  the agony of Gethsemane. Therefore chronologically we need  to start counting the “three  days and  three  nights”  FROM the 14th of Nisan. This will take us through to 6 o’clock on 16th Nisan. And then  He arose – after  three  days a three nights, 14, 15, 16 in the ‘heart’ of the earth-on the Sunday, the first day of the week.

We remember that Christ had to be “the first fruits of them  that slept”   For, until our Lord became the first fruits, there  was  no deliverance for those  who had preceded Him to the grave.

He arose  then, on the third day, on the morning  of the first day of the week. So, the three days are what we would call Thursday,  Friday and Saturday, the 14, 15 and  16th  Nisan, and  He arose very early on  the Sunday.

Christ became our Resurrection. He became Lord of the Sabbath. He was  not bound  by any sabbaths previously being kept; He was the NEW Sabbath, the Lord of the Sabbath. Coming forth on the eighth  day, He the new octave  of achievement, God in Christ becoming the  Resurrection. “I am  the resurrection and the life”not I shall be, but “I AM.”

When  Mary and  Martha had  been  told this on an important occasion they had not understood it. Now, it is demonstrated. One of the most moving stories in the New Testament  is of Mary coming  to the tomb,  and finding someone there  whom she  took to be the gardener.  “Oh”, she  said, “tell  me where you have laid him that I may … ” and He just looked  at her. She knew. A most moving story, for this one who could not believe with her sister Martha when He had said, “I am the resurrection and the life, “ He proved it, and there He was, “I AM the resurrection” and she was so excited; she ran to all the others, and He said to go and tell my disciples and  Peter. Now, why did He have to single out Peter? “Go and tell my disciples and Peter.” Peter had been  rather weak, denying Him three times and three times our Lord asked him “lovest thou me?”. “lovest thou  me?”, “lovest thou  me?” Three times Peter had to confess our Lord because three times he had previously rejected  Him. Until he thrice confessed, he was not in the closest circle of the disciples. “Tell my disciples and Peter” And she did. Then they came.

Now, Jesus  had said to Mary, “Touch me not  for I am  not  ascended to  my  father.”  But later  when He met  with  the  disciples, He said  to  Thomas, “Handle me and  see. A spirit  hath  not  flesh and bones  as you see me have.”

And, when  He had  kept  His appointment, He said “I will see you in Galilee.” When  He came to them  at Tiberias  they were out  fishing. Jesus  laid coals, made  a  fire and  prepared   fish  for them, serving  them  bread  also. He had  a body  of  flesh and bones, a resurrection body. And  it was a body without blood.

The only thing our Lord in His mortality left on this earth  was  His blood. “Flesh  and  blood  shall  not inherit  the kingdom.”

Our  Risen Lord, His Kingdom, Our  Hope.

 

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